Asda v’s Hutchinson Employment Tribunal – Where did Asda go wrong?

The case concerned a lady called Joan Hutchinson who brought a claim against Asda.

The tribunal found Mrs Hutchinson was discriminated against due to her age and disability.

At the time of the incident Mrs Hutchinson was 73 years old and was suffering from dementia. The tribunal were very clear to point out that Asda acted with the best of intentions.

There was an example where a colleague rummaged through her bag to find her keys and bus pass.

That was deemed to have violated her dignity.

Whilst they were trying to help, they did so without her permission.

She was also asked on multiple occasions whether she would like to retire.

The tribunal came to this decision

Had this been a younger member of staff suffering with a disability the chances are they would not have been asked if they wanted to retire.

They would have taken them through a sickness absence procedure.

For some reason Asda did not follow that well trodden procedure that businesses and employers are typically used to when it comes to managing employees who aren’t well or who are no longer capable of doing their job.

A well meaning employer who simply didn’t follow procedures ended up with a national tribunal and all over the national press.

In summary

Always ensure you are following your company procedures or handbook. If you are in doubt of which procedures you should be following, always take advice.


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